Tag Archives: attitude

Manners, Southern Style (Pedcast)


One of the nice things about having your own blog is that you get to talk about whatever interests you at the moment and this week I started thinking about the differences between children raised in the South.

I grew up partly in the South, partly in the North, and have lived my entire adult life in the South.  I have seen Southerners  and I have learned a few things from these observations.  Southerners tend to be polite and respectful but are reluctant to reveal their feelings, sometimes to a fault. That’s probably why Ret Butler’s line to Scarlet O’Hara was so shocking to southerners, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”. This was not a Southern way of communicating. Continue reading

From the desk of Doc Smo: Life is a group activity! (article)

No wonder we are becoming an extremely polarized society: people, especially young adults, are walking around with mp3 players, cell phones, and earphones everywhere they go. They may be physically in one place, but they are interacting with an entirely separate virtual world. When I walk around the streets, what I see are people walking around not hearing birds, not talking to people they encounter, not hearing bikers or cars approaching, and generally being in another mental place. I see little conversation between people on the street. No meeting new people or interacting with strangers. I think this is a shame. I think this kind of isolating behavior is not good for the individual immersed in portable media, but I think it is also bad for our society as a whole. It’s easier to succumb to the danger of becoming rigid and dogmatic in your thoughts if you are not forced to encounter opinions other than your own. Portable media creates isolation.

The world needs more tolerance and understanding, not less. That’s why travel, both local and distant, is so great. You meet new people from other cultures and backgrounds. You are forced to see the world from their perspective. You are forced out of your own comfort zone and see the world through a different lens. In my opinion, parents need to understand the isolating effect of cell phones, portable media, and video games and actively counter their effects. Set a good example by greeting people on the street, seeking out friendship with people with different backgrounds from your own, and showing a curiosity about people and things that are unfamiliar to you.

My daughter and I love to wander and take pictures. It’s our hobby that we have shared for years. I always tell her that no matter how many pictures we take on an outing, if we get one great picture the whole day seems worthwhile. I think the same is true of encounters outside your normal sphere of comfort. In your travels, if you make one new friend, learn something about the world you didn’t know before, or see life in a broader context, the whole experience becomes worthwhile. If you and your children do use the new portable media, make sure you strive to spend an equal amount of time showing a curiosity about what is around you.

Teaching your teen to be “Responsible” (Pedcast)

Can you teach your children to be a responsible adult… you bet.  In this episode of DocSmo.com, Anne Gessner PNP and Dr. Smolen discuss the subject of teaching responsible behavior to children, especially teenagers.  Hear them discuss what they consider the do’s and don’ts when it comes to helping children  become responsible adults.


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Attitude lessons learned from my Dad (Pedcast)

Last year’s holiday message about lessons learned from my Grandfather was a well received podcast.  This year’s holiday message focuses on lessons learned from Dr Smolen’s father.  Parents can have a strong, positive effect on their children’s attitudes. Listen to this podcast and learn how “Smoky Smolen” had a positive influence on his son’s attitude.




-Podcast, helping parents with information to help raise their children from preschool to grad school

-Last Thanksgiving I did an attitude pedcast about my grandfather.

-I got a tremendous response so here we go again with my now annual pedcast about teaching children positive messages about life attitudes.

-It’s my belief that everyone around you have things to teach you.  Sometimes the teaching is direct and sometimes the lessons are only available only by observation.

-In the case of my father, his attitudes were crystal clear both in his words and his actions. I am going to share those with you today.

-Today I am going to reflect some on my father’s attitude toward work and really life in general…I hope we can all learn from his life experiences.

-So kickback and enjoy hearing a little some of the wisdom that my father taught me which I hope will have relevance for you and your children.


-First a little background on my Dad.

– He was born in the 1920’s, in Atlanta Ga, the deep south.

-He was an only child in a Jewish family in the south.

-Those two facts made him different right from the get go- Jewish in the South and only child at a time when families were usually large.  I got the feeling that these facts, galvanized his personality. He learned to stand up for himself and be proud of who he was!

-It didn’t hurt that he was a good student and very athletic.

-After high school graduation, he enrolled as a freshman at UNC

but then WW2 broke out.  He dropped out of school voluntarily to join the Marines.  He was going to join the fight and make a difference.  I got the feeling that not only was he ready to fight for his country, but maybe he needed to prove something to himself and others.


-After the war, he did not return to school but rather married and settled into a sales job, selling industrial chemicals, mostly soaps.  Without a college degree there were probably not a lot of options available to him.  While his friends were becoming successful lawyers, doctors, and business owners, he was selling chemicals to one customer at a time. But it turns out that the soap sales business suited him quite well.


– After a few years in the soap business it was clear that he had a talent for selling.  He had found his career, not as a professional but as a soap salesman.

-Now here’s where the attitude lessons come in. I can vividly remember him telling me a two things over and over again as a child;


Firstly, if you are going to be a salesman or anything else for that matter, be the best salesman the world has ever seen.  A 90% effort was just not good enough, it had to be 100% or nothing.  He would often say to me, “ If you are going to be a shoe salesman or a carpenter, be the best darn shoe salesman or carpenter there is.”  That was just his attitude.


Secondly, his attitude was that nothing happened until a salesman landed the sale. He chose to see his role as absolutely essential to the overall effort of the company.  In his view, his function was more important that the CEO of the company, the accountants, the chemists and all the rest down the line.  It was the salesman that made it all happen.  He had converted (in his mind) what many could call a mundane job into the linchpin of the organization. Now that’s a good attitude!



-Was this all ego or compensation for insecurity…I don’t think so.

– He had chosen a philosophy that gave his life meaning and purpose.

That philosophy was: When you decide to do something, give it all you got. Furthermore, no matter what the activity is , treat it as important.  Respect yourself and your contribution take it seriously.  Boy did this work for him.  He became an extremely successful salesman.  He retired having earned a great income and had become a legendary salesman in the company.


-What a great message for kids;


When your child decides to do something, they should give it their best effort… and they should treat their contribution to whatever the endeavour as important! They should demand respect from others involved.


-If you can convince your children to adopt my father’s life view (give your all and your contribution is important), think how that would help with schoolwork, sports, and even friendships.


– Learning to give things your best effort can only be a positive in my mind.  It is only with this kind of effort that we can hope to overcome all the difficulties that life throws at us.


– By the same reasoning, respecting your own contribution to a group activity and demanding respect from others gives it meaning and importance. An individual who always gives their best effort and treats every task as important is the kind of person I want working with and for me! Work with a purpose is always better than just work.  It happens to be more fun too!




-I hope these insights into my father’s attitude can help you shape your child’s attitude toward life.

-Sometimes when you watch the news you think that our problems are insurmountable….think about the tremendously difficult obstacles generations past had to tackle and overcome.  Maybe if you can instill in your child, my father’s life attitudes, their challenges will be easier to tackle.

-Well, that’s it for today.

-Thanks for joining me.

-If you like what you hear, please recommend the DocSmo pod cast to your friends and relatives.  The larger my audience the more energy I can invest in my blog. “Like” DocSmo on my face book page or “follow” me on twitter.  If you like the blog, so will your friends.

-Feel free to send in a comment and start a discussion

This is Dr Paul Smolen, recording in Charlotte, NC hoping you are in the mood, to affect your child’s attitude!


Until next time!

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*By listening to this pedcast, you are agreeing to Doc Smo’s terms and conditions.


All Rights Reserved.

Can You Shape Your Child’s Attitude? (Announcement)

Tune in to next week’s podcast to hear Dr. Smolen’s take on shaping attitude in your children. Dr. Smolen believes that a child’s ultimate attitude toward family, work, school, and society are shaped by messages and experiences they have when they are young and impressionable. Parents have more power in this regard than they may realize. Listen to what Dr. Smolen feels are key personality traits that parents can influence and what you can do today to raise healthy balanced children.